Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Interwoven Express Search and Worksite 8.3 Update - Back to Wow!!

In my last post (Interwoven Express Search and Worksite 8.3 Update) on Interwoven's new tools I noted quite a few problems. Now, after re-configuring some settings we are getting back on course. Problems 3, 4, 5, and 6 have all been fixed and the searching is great. Those quirky search errors are gone. Express Search even seems to be running faster.

Express Search introduces a Google-like search for our document management system. It moves the search dialog from a screen full of database fields to one simple box. It also brings relevancy to the search results.

Going back to my earlier theory of searching, there are four basic types of searches for documents: fetch, recall, research and precedent. The Interwoven document management system has always done well with the fetch and recall types. Those are the types of searches that you know what you are looking and are the type of searches a document management system was built for. But it had always been fairly poor at the research type where you do not know what you are looking for. The search results do not come back ranked in relevancy so there is limited ability to deal with a long list of results. Also, even though we separated out document collection into several different libraries to speed the search results, the libraries have just continued to grow. The big libraries make the full text searches very slow in all versions prior to 8.3. Express Search brings speed and relevancy ranking. That makes it a great solution for doing a research type search. The sister tool to Express Search is Data Miner. It allows you to group the search results based on the metadata from the document profile. This gets closer to addressing the needs of a precedent search.

We are still testing and banging on the tools, but two problems remain on our list.

First, 8.3 is still configured to return all versions of a document that meet the search criteria and not just the latest version of that document. For key transactional documents, we will go through several versions of the document. We have our 8.2 document management system currently configured to only show the document a single time in the search results. That is problem 1 from my prior post.
This multiple versions problem is still a big problem. Unfortunately, it carries over to Express Search, DataMiner and DeskSite.

Second, it is a challenge to search by the document identification number. If you put the document ID in the Express Search box, without specifyiing the "doc.num:" syntax, it will execute a full text search and you may get the document back in the search results if you have included the document ID in the text of the document. (We generally put it in the footer of the document, but not always.) Even though you can search by document number there is no way to limit the search to a particular library and the search results do not identify the library of the document. The complicating factor is that we have six libraries in the document management and do not make the document ID unique except within a single library. So document number 123456 would be unique within a library but could exist in each of the six libraries. Of course, you could use the bulkier DataMiner which does display the library.

We can probably cope with document ID problem by keeping the old DeskSite interface on the desktop. People would use that interface to search by document ID.

But the multiple versions problem is still an impediment to our moving forward with Express Search and Worksite 8.3. We find it very jarring to the search experience.

I heard rumors that Interwoven is working on a patch to fix the multiple version problem and the library problem for the document ID in Express. In the meantime we will continue testing.

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